We Went to a Strip Club with French Montana
French Montana is a rapper from the Bronx by way of Morocco. He’s a ridiculously nice guy in person, with a tendency to mumble a lot. It would make you think he’s shy, or slow, except he’s neither, because he founded a series of street DVDs called Cocaine City when he was 18 and basically hustled his way from nothing to being BFFs with Rick Ross and owning $150,000 chains. He’s been releasing mixtapes since 2007, but is finally seeing mainstream recognition thanks to a few recent club-friendly singles and an alignment of the planets of the Universal Music Group, which have ordained his upcoming full-length, Excuse My French, to be the next big thing in hip hop. So it is decreed, and so it shall be.
One of those singles is “Pop That”. We could debate the lyrical merits and production choices of “Pop That” for sheer minutes, but it would be a pretty worthless endeavour, because at the end of the day, the song has ten million views on YouTube because it makes you want to dance and/or twerk, and it turns out French can do that well. He’s not the most lyrical rapper, but he’s been perfecting a sort of boozy melodic delivery for years with his mentor Max B, which is all you need to make lyrics like “Hundred large, bring a mop / Windows tinted like Barack” work for you. Nobody’s hitting up his Rap Genius entry from the dancefloor. (Except maybe some of my rap nerd friends, and God bless them for it.)
Anyway: you’re sitting at work on a pretty typical Thursday, enjoying that weird Thursday afternoon headspace halfway between the grind and freedom, when you get an invitation to a “One Night Only French Montana And Friends POP THAT extravaganza” next Wednesday, which is beautiful, because of course this is on a Wednesday night and of course you want to spend that Wednesday night witnessing French Montana make it rain on twerkers to the poppiest (both radio- and booty-wise) song this year. It’s at a strip club. You are promised that the Ciroc will be flowing. The gods of the Universal Music Group shine down upon you.
Wednesday comes and you’ve realised there’s a burning hole in your soul only twerkers can fill. Odd venue, though. It’s at a strip club called Sin City, located in the middle of West Hollywood, which is the boysiest boystown in America. Sin City is literally a block over from this bar called The Abbey that is, functionally, a weekly twink convention. The crosswalks are rainbows. It’s awesome. But West Hollywood is the last place on Earth you’d expect to find a strip club like this; it’s akin to putting a Madonna-themed drag show in the middle of the Iowa State Fair. It’s also about a block from Beverly Hills and Melrose Avenue, and if the Toto designer faucet showroom functioned on strip club hours, you could get your fill of booty poppery and a balling new toilet without having to walk so much as four minutes. The Beverly Hills Sheriff’s Station is a block over, too, which explains the ten or so cops standing across the street from the joint as you walk in. I guess someone decided it would be sweet to put a straight-up strip club in the middle of the most white-bread, queer-friendly, heavily-policed area in the city, and that is where French Montana decided to make it rain upon twerkers last night.
Ciroc is not flowing. That ended at 11PM. Who shows up to a strip club at 10PM, anyway? I’d like to take this opportunity to officially lodge beef and fire shots with and at the concept of open bars everywhere. Shots fired. We have beef, supposedly open bars. It’s the most useless, grimiest marketing tactic ever. The only time you’re actually going to see free anything from an open bar is at CMJ or SXSW, and they basically have to keep you drunk at those things as a mental health precaution. I’d like to get some FDA regulation on bar promoters, Obama.
French isn’t there, which is understandable. Rappers have some sort of otherworldly set of physics that apply to them; they are propelled by an intertia mere mortals will never understand. In the meantime, there are strippers. The DJ plays Kid Ink’s “Drippin’”, and it takes on newly literal connotations. A couple of hours pass. Things get restless. All there is to do is chill, buy $10 drinks, maybe tip a stripper. I’d like to say something about how I feel bad for the strippers but this isn’t my graduate gender studies thesis. I can’t diss strippers. I’m not their target audience and I’m not their mother. I will say I never realised strippers had this much cellulite. That was a shock. Strip clubs are dim for a reason. A team of bouncers passes every five minutes to scoop up ones, which answers the question of where those singles go (a G-string can only hold so many notes. For some of these girls, “G-string” might be generous.)
Then, this happens:
A wild French Montana appears, clutching a trash bag of singles. It literally rains singles; hundreds pour from nowhere and everywhere at once. The twerkers are going insane. Chicks are bouncing around and on each other in ways that probably shouldn’t be humanly possible. The stage went from two twerkers to 15 in 45 seconds. Confetti streams. It’s like a really sudden orgasm after hours of foreplay, like 15 minutesoffireworksweregoingoffin15 seconds; this is what we were waiting for, and it was completely worth it.
I’d actually like to compliment the strippers, because they had moves. Mind-boggling moves. These girls were propelling themselves across the stage using the mere force of their buttocks. They were twisting around poles, two at a time, in ways that made Cirque De Soleil look half-assed. They were sandwiched, yet seemed to be constantly aware of their collective presence (zero heel injuries.) They were falling to the stage in splits from standing with painful-sounding thumps and stomping around to the beat of “Pop That” like an X-rated Riverdance. I have no idea if this is normal strip club fare or if French commanded a higher calibre of twerk last night, but either way, this was a show. Does “Pop That” make the stripper, or does the stripper make “Pop That?" Philosophy majors, weigh in in the comments.
After all of ten minutes it’s over, and you retreat to the bar in a daze, thoroughly entertained. The marketing gimmicks worked. Curiosity sated. If you’re wondering what it’s like to see French Montana make it rain on a bunch of twerkers, you merely have to listen to his rhymes. Boozy, ridiculous and pretty void of real thought. Sometimes, rap doesn’t have to be good to be great.
Follow Tyler on Twitter: @tylertry
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